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Are (High-end) Custom IEMs Overrated? - Page 8  

post #106 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post
As for JHA selling/making universal versions of their JH13/JH16, they do not make them, but I did read something a few months ago that apparently they were considering introducing JHA universals. Whether they'll be able to cram 6/8 drivers into a universal housing is another matter. Currently only Westone have the W4 that houses 4 drivers in each shell (2 lows, 1 mid, 1 high).

 

 

RE: Silicone vs. "Squishies" ... 

 

For me (and I find this to be true with IEM's in general) ... the tip that "sounds" the best has differed dramatically from headphone to headphone; for instance, with the Shure E4C, I vastly preferred the silicon (dark grey) tip, albeit,for whatever reason having to constantly push them back in. And, in retrospect, I think it would be at the upper end of noise isolation as well. 

 

But when I got the Shure SE530's, suddenly the silicon tips sounded bloated and boomy while the foam, "squish" type sounded spot on ... I especially liked the Shure Yellow Foamies but they get itchy to me and don't isolate as good as the Shure provided black foamies.

 

So yeah ... subjective to the Nth.

 

...

 

And as far as the quoted bit above ... JH Audio does provide universally housed and tipped variants of the JH13 and JH16; I know this because they mailed a set of 4 or 5 universal JH13's down for the Houston Head-fi Meet back in 2009 or so. I found them interesting but didn't get to (want to) spend much time with them ... but now I'm curious again. I've also read about high end audio shops featuring demo universal JH products.

 

Whether they sell to the consumer, however, is another story.

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

.j
 

 

post #107 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by qusp View Post also i guess i'll just agree to disagree with the enclosure comment, they are massively important to the resulting sound quality with speakers, as are transducers and i dont use an actual XO, give me biamped digital anyday

 



Obviously the enclosure is very important but assuming it is done decently at the low or mid range it will be less important than the drivers used. Most people here aren't going as high end os you.

I agree digital X-over with sprectrum analysed EQ is the go. The new JH 16 System will be interesting to have a listen too when Jerry finally sorts out the engineering &  production  issues!

post #108 of 467

Rather than joining the ongoing debate I will simply state my opinions based on real world usage.

 

I commute every day from Staten Island to Midtown Manhattan, about 1.5 hours each way via train, boat and then another train.  These are boring and noisy environments.  For that reason I've become a big fan of IEM's and have owned many different makes and models of universals, from Sony to Shure to Klipsch.  I was really enjoying the Klipsch Image X10s for fit and sound quality but still wasn't completely satisfied so I recently made the investment in customs.

 

I bought the UE Reference Monitors, which appealed to me because I do a fair amount of laptop composing and editing and wanted something that would be reasonably accurate.  I really liked them but decided they weren't the right everyday phones so I bought the UE18 pros and here's what I'll say about them.  They will never compete with a great over the ear set of cans for soundstage but they sound amazing in just about every other respect.  The imaging and tonal balance are stunning to me.  Almost daily I am noticing details in my recordings that I had never heard.  I'm not here to try to convince anyone about their value but for me, they were a great investment.

post #109 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonsofquestions View Post

I was reading a comment a few days ago about the HD800. The parts probably don't cost more than $40 more than the HD600. But the cans cost 4x as much. Why? Because there was more R&D, because are people willing to pay it, and because the price will drop. 


Not exactly.  Whoever said that is missing the massive upfront costs for the initial tooling and molding.  The 555/595/558/598 like the 580/600/650 basically share the same design and parts across their ranges.  Massive cost savings using the same dies to make 4 different models and just spray some paint or change colors, etc.  The 800 shares almost nothing in common with any of them.  Pads, headband, housing, frame, drivers and magnets are unique only to the 800.  Not sure if the 580/600/650 use silver plated copper cables either.  So there is much more to it than saying it has $40 better parts and material in it.  But you already appreciate that by acknowledging the R&D, etc.  I'd say Senn only makes $100-$200 more profit per HD800 than Denon does w/ the D7000, if even that.    Denon must make a killing on those, then think about if you pay full retail!

 

On the topic at hand, to not repeat myself I offer the following.

 

It's possible to pay more for a custom that sounds worse than a cheaper universal.

 

It's possible to also pay more for a universal that sounds worse than a cheaper custom.

 

As for me, none of the universals I've ever heard so far make me want to listen to them over my ES5 so I appreciate its value to me.  UE IERM is a closer contest but still wins over the next closest universal competitor.  So diminishing returns and your personal value attached to your personal sense of improvement are what matters most.  I used to loathe BA's and was/is a huge dynamic driver guy but the ES5 is just that magic blend of real life imaging and coherent, natural sound I crave.  Till the next thing, if it comes... 

post #110 of 467

every time i see these debates about if x is worth y dollars, its somewhat understandable but really, its not about what i think for others to follow. everyone has their own opinions on how much a 5% increase in SQ is to them.  some ppl think its not worth it and that the point of diminishing returns was long ago.  others are searching for that perfect sound. to them, investing more in customs vs the top universals is worth it. 

 

soon after my purchase i regretted it some.  thought id be just as happy with a top universal around 400$.  but as time passed, i really think these jh16s are 100% worth their money if you have that omney and youre looking for the best you can buy (if not jh16s, other customs in its price range).   in the end, this probably ends up cheaper for me as i dont have to buy and resell universals to find one i love.  but thats my personality.  if i know somethings "better" or perceived as better out there, i wonder about it.  if youre willing to spend money, customs and other flagship full sized etc, are worth it.  if youre not searching for the perfect sound, then an RE0 might be all you need. 

 

why are ppl arguing about things like this? nto only this thread but all over headfi now.  this hobby is 100% subjective. sound is dependent on so many things like source, amp, cables(if you believe in it) and etc.  then you have to take into account how ppl hear and what their prefrences are.  even if you try to be as neutral as possible, your ears and brain hear something how it wants ot hear it.  take reviews, opinions, and comments as that person's idea of what sounds good. dont base what youd like 100% on what someone else likes.  use this site as a guide, not as the bible to audiophiles. 

post #111 of 467
Thread Starter 

^^ The problem is not whether or not some people should be spending (a lot of) money in order to get minimal improvements in SQ or not. It's been said already (several times) that there are indeed people who are aware of the 'law of diminishing returns' as you go up the ladder and some of these people will be willing to spend their money for such small SQ differences.

 
However, when I say overrated, I'm talking about different aspects that are often hyped/exaggerated, the most common of which - and possibly the most important - is the significant improvements in SQ. Many people, when they start researching for a new set of customs, look at customs threads. These threads are often full of hype and exaggeration, particularly the first 20-50 pages. It is usually many pages into a thread that you get a clearer picture re SQ, fit, isolation, re-fits, ear impressions, AND you also begin to hear quite a few horror stories re re-fits, and (very) poor customer service.
 
Unsuspecting/inexperienced new - and some not so new - members, often young, believe a lot of the hype and are NOT aware of the often minimal improvements in SQ, comfort, isolation and possible (extra) shipping costs. Some of these people, when noticing that they didn't get the SQ improvement they expcted, often start asking questions about getting new sources, portable amps & DACs, aftermarket cables, etc. These same people are also often told that they now need to listen exclusively to FLAC files or other lossless formats, when in actual fact a lot of these suggestions often offer no improvement whatsoever, or the differences are so subtle that most people would not notice them. 
 
So, I'm not saying customs should not be purchased by anybody, but that I think they are not really worth it for a lot of people.
 
There is also an often ignored psychological aspect, particularly when talking about expensive customs - the need to rationalise/justify an expensive purchase, ie I have to convince myself somehow that the huge amount(s) of money I've spent is really worth it.
 
Like I said, $300+ on a set of universal IEMs is already (a hell of) a lot of money. This is not a problem for those whose hobby is/has been audio gear and have enough money to spend. Unfortunately, a lot of people are not into this so-called (expensive) hobby, and originally only come to HF - the most popular website on the web - looking for better earphones than their stock MP3 player earphones. A few months down the line, some of these people end up getting customs, amps/DACs, aftermarket cables, new sources, etc.
 
Yes, I'm aware people are free to spend their money the way they see fit, but I'm quite convinced that quite a few of people who have spent a lot of money in these products, if given the choice, they'd do things very differently.
 
True, also, that only trying out things for yourself is the best way to find out whether this is all hype or not. But, sometimes the price to pay for just testing/trying out new gear, as is the case with (expensive) customs, can be pretty high.
 
post #112 of 467

thats the fault of the buyer.  every site is like that. yes, some that buy expensive gear regret it but that does not mean its necessarily overrated in general. it may be overrated to you, but i assure you, its not overrated in general.  there are some prodcuts talked about on here that are vouched for by some of the long time members and reviewers on this site that arent necessarily worth the money.  for some reason, they back these products.  the but custom IEM market does exactly what it says it does.  theres no "snake oil" here, theres no BS. you get this many drivers, in an enclosure custom molded to your ear.  in many cases, the sound is superior to the universals youll see around. 

i just love it when ppl say "its not that great... i mean the highs, mids, and lows are better but its not that great." really?! you feel every aspect of sound is better than what youre comparing it to yet, its not that great. 

 

post #113 of 467

"It's not that great".

 

I just think there is a built in expectation on the incremental SQ improvement when jumping from $400 universals to $1,200 customs.  Depending on source and gear, one person may only hear a 20-25% improvement between the great sound he was already hearing on his great sounding $400 universal versus the $1,200 custom.  Another person may hear 50% improvement or even more but you may be paying 3 TIMES THE COST.

 

Perhaps some people expect the improvement to be like going from stock earbuds to $400 universals but that is not going to be the case.


Edited by Spyro - 6/4/11 at 10:48am
post #114 of 467

You can't compare multiple driver speakers to multiple driver IEMs. If a speaker has 2 mids or tweeters you get some time issues from multiple sources being further apart than the wavelengths they cover and interference products. In an IEM everything is within those distances and you're dealing with canal pressure. Multiple drivers can help with dynamic compression, distortion and effeciency with out much in the way of draw backs here. I wouldn't buy a thing based on the number or type of drivers but I also wouldn't disregard a product due to it.  

post #115 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

"It's not that great".

 

I just think there is a built in expectation on the incremental SQ improvement when jumping from $400 universals to $1,200 customs.  Depending on source and gear, one person may only hear a 20-25% improvement between the great sound he was already hearing on his great sounding $400 universal versus the $1,200 custom.  Another person may hear 50% improvement or even more but you may be paying 3 TIMES THE COST.

 

Perhaps some people expect the improvement to be like going from stock earbuds to $400 universals but that is not going to be the case.


Well, of course it's not. It's called the law of diminishing returns, and if you've been here long enough you should know about it.

Not to mention the fact that going from the stock earbuds to $400 universals is probably somewhere around 100 times the cost (or even 400 times). For that kind of magnitude, and that early in the curve, of course there's going to be a much bigger difference.
 

 

post #116 of 467
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffroyroycole View Post

Proposed thread name change:

"Are high-end or even plain vanilla customs overrated for people who want massive not incremental change (don't understand the law of diminishing returns) and also who really can't afford paying the high prices?"

 

To that, I can answer yes.
 


I don't believe it's a matter of not understanding the "law of diminishing returns". It's not difficult, really, to understand that the differences in SQ will not be dramatic; that, if people already get a good fit from a good universal IEM, the SQ improvements from an (expensive) custom will not be so dramatic. I still believe VERY few people are aware of said 'law' thanks to the hype & the often exaggerated way in which many posters describe the improvements they hear, not because they don't understand it.

 

Also, I think that even if one could afford one or 5 sets of very expensive customs, that has nothing to do with them still being considered overrated or not. I may have all the money in the world but still feel I've been misled/ripped off, ie I didn't get what I thought I should be getting. Perhaps I don't make a fuss about it because I have plenty of disposable cash and just try and forget about the whole thing/experience.

 


Edited by music_4321 - 6/4/11 at 12:07pm
post #117 of 467

While I have yet to jump on customs I am quite open on having a pair one day after hearing a pair of SM3x6 from UM. Of course I couldnt get the perfect seal but but it was close enough and I saw the merits of having 6 drivers and how lovely the sound was coming out of these.

 

Yes the price probably won't be worth the price difference between these and the top tier universals I already own, but its probably the novelty of having a pair custom fitted just for you and the allure of additional drivers taking my sound to the next level along with the complete isolation. I am expecting to not hear engine roar or the sound of crunchy food while I chew them. Will this be true for me if I decide to take the leap?

post #118 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaliKot View Post

While I have yet to jump on customs I am quite open on having a pair one day after hearing a pair of SM3x6 from UM. Of course I couldnt get the perfect seal but but it was close enough and I saw the merits of having 6 drivers and how lovely the sound was coming out of these.

 

Yes the price probably won't be worth the price difference between these and the top tier universals I already own, but its probably the novelty of having a pair custom fitted just for you and the allure of additional drivers taking my sound to the next level along with the complete isolation. I am expecting to not hear engine roar or the sound of crunchy food while I chew them. Will this be true for me if I decide to take the leap?


no, at least not for me...airplane roar is probably still audible, but barely. chewing is a whole nother issue due to greater bone conduction compared to universal IEM's. not to mention moving your jaw a lot changes the shape of your canals possibly causing the seal to ocassionally break

 

post #119 of 467

Thanks for answering that. I am now thinking that it will significantly increase isolation but it won't be as good as im expecting the isolation to be.

 

I am thinking whether I should acquire a high end can or go customs where I am still not decided between the two. Would you think having a T5p or an HD800 or an LCD2 would be a better investment than a custom IEM such as the merlin?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by buffalowings View Post




no, at least not for me...airplane roar is probably still audible, but barely. chewing is a whole nother issue due to greater bone conduction compared to universal IEM's. not to mention moving your jaw a lot changes the shape of your canals possibly causing the seal to ocassionally break

 



 

post #120 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaliKot View Post

Thanks for answering that. I am now thinking that it will significantly increase isolation but it won't be as good as im expecting the isolation to be.

 

I am thinking whether I should acquire a high end can or go customs where I am still not decided between the two. Would you think having a T5p or an HD800 or an LCD2 would be a better investment than a custom IEM such as the merlin?
 



 



I think it really depends on your uses, if you will use them while up and about, the customs would be the better choice, but for home listening, I think a open/fullsize headphone is still better, i have not personally heard a high end custom, only lower/mid range (1964 ears quads) but their is no way a custom can beat the fullsize in terms of openess and sound stage even if the instrument seperation is equal

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